Although there was initial optimism from the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James ultimately wound up missing over five weeks after slipping and suffering a strained groin on Christmas Day. James played 40 minutes in an overtime win against the Clippers in his return, then sat out the Lakers’ next game against the Golden State Warriors due to load management.
James has appeared on the injury report on multiple occasions since that point but remained in the lineup in each of the past eight games. But his absence from the primetime matchup at Oracle Arena has recently come under criticism.
Social media posts suggested James was in the music studio with rapper 2Chainz late into the night before the 16-year veteran was ruled out. Some began to take that as part of the reason James sat against the Warriors.
“That’s not true,” James said at shootaround. “It was the night before we played the Warriors here at home. It wouldn’t have been possible (to work on the album Feb. 1), because Draymond was in L.A. Draymond would’ve had to fly from the Bay to L.A., and then fly back up to play us the next day. It wasn’t even possible.”
The date James said he was in the studio would be Jan. 20, which came during a four-game homestand for the Lakers. He wasn’t physically able to play in the matchup with the Warriors at Staples Center, which was 10 days prior to his eventual return.
James is doing Artists and Repertoire (A/R) work for 2Chainz on his “Rap or Go To The League” album that’s due to release Friday. While the involvement has earned him criticism based on unfounded reports, James nevertheless embraces the ties between sports and music.
“It fits like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to be honest,” he said. “Growing up, without music, I don’t think I’d be in the position I am today. Hip-hop, for sure. It just puts you in a different mindset, different grind for me when I was growing up. I grew up in a hip-hop family as well. My uncle was an artist; still is to this day.
“I’ve listened to hip-hop my whole life. Rappers want to be ballers. Ballers want to be rappers. It’s kind of one and the same. We love the way they’re able to take their experiences and put it on a track. I guess they love what we do on the basketball floor as well. I’m happy to be a part of that project. He’s definitely a good friend of mine.”
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